Matthew Finch
Matthew Finch Senior SEO Strategist

Google shake up the UK recruitment industry with Google Jobs

Matthew Finch
Matthew Finch Senior SEO Strategist

Renowned for continuously evolving their search functions in order to meet the needs of their users, Google has launched their new job search tool in the USA, Canada, India, Spain and parts of Africa over the course of the past year, ahead of launching in the UK on 17th July 2018.

The launch of Google Jobs in the UK looks set to radically alter the way people search for jobs, together with impacting recruitment agencies and their processes.

Historically, the launch of Google search functions has caused considerable disruption to other industries. As discussed by Inc.com, the success of Google Flights is due to the lack of transparency in the flight industry prior to its release. Customers were frustrated by the tendency of airlines to withhold information about additional costs such as baggage fees in order to make flights seem cheaper.

The impact of Google Flights – which provides this information in detail along with predicted delays – on the airline industry was predictably immediate and powerful, with the UK Business Insider declaring Google Flights an ‘embarrassment’ to airlines.

Google’s encroachment on the hotel industry has also come under scrutiny in recent months thanks to the launch of the Google Trips app. Although it has not been implemented on desktop search on a large scale, there is evidence that Google Trips drives down organic hotel traffic as travellers using the app will not be guided to a hotel unless its listing is optimised for local search and it has a large amount of positive reviews.

Google’s success in displacing the flights and hotel industries online is largely down to their ability to exploit a key weakness in those industries – a lack of information. Put simply, Google has provided a more informative – and therefore more valuable – service.

Now that Google is moving in on the recruitment industry, recruiters would be wise to be aware of the lessons learnt by their predecessors in travel and hospitality.

How does Google Jobs work?

At its core, the new job search function is designed to simplify and speed up the process of job-hunting for the user. At the US launch of Google Jobs, Google CEO Pichai Sundar announced that the purpose of the tool was to ‘better connect employers and job seekers’.

Google for Jobs enables users to filter potential roles by:

  1. Qualifications
  2. Experience
  3. Speciality skills
  4. Working hours
  5. Seniority
  6. Salary
  7. Commute time
  8. Company
  9. Reviews and ratings of the employer

UK recruiters and job platforms working with Google to create Google Jobs functions include:

  1. LinkedIn
  2. Monster
  3. WayUp
  4. SmartRecruiters
  5. DirectEmployers
  6. CareerBuilder
  7. Glassdoor
  8. Facebook

Google Jobs has also incorporated salary ranges provided by Glassdoor and Payscale in order to further streamline the job seeking process.

What does this mean for UK recruitment agencies’ online visibility?

While it’s expected that Google will weight its own jobs platform above all else, the search engine may err on the side of caution initially, given that they have just received €3.4 billion fine from the EU for abusing their Android dominance.

On search engine results pages (SERPs), Google Jobs listings are positioned below the Map Pack (where applicable) for location search terms, such as ‘teaching agency London’. They also sit below paid adverts, if there are any relevant to the query.  

Google jobs recruitment companies

Online recruitment agency Reecru have stated that there is evidence that Google has removed paid adverts for certain keywords as part of their strategy to promote the Jobs search function. They predict that cost per click (CPC) will rise as a result, meaning that only large recruiters such as Indeed will be able to resist being priced out of the market.

Google does not currently charge for job ads, but should this change smaller recruiters especially will be impacted.

Google Jobs listings also sit above all organic search results in the SERPs. This means that even results that rank in position one will now probably be situated below the fold, resulting in severely diminished organic traffic. On the other hand, there is also evidence to suggest that Google Jobs will make recruitment more egalitarian, as the algorithm prioritises well-optimised pages as opposed to site size.

As discussed by Tess Taylor of HR Dive, recruiters such as SmartRecruiters who are collaborating with Google  have seen an increase in traffic to their sites since the launch.

Not all recruiters have jumped at the chance to partner with Google. Indeed, who currently dominate the online recruitment industry, have chosen not to work with Google Jobs, electing to keep their job listings separate. It seems likely that, with their high organic rankings relegated to below the fold, Google Jobs will weaken Indeed’s position in recruitment, so the decision to opt out may prove costly.

Overall it is likely that online recruiters will see a drop in organic traffic in response to the implementation of Google Jobs unless they have optimised their job listings correctly.

What can you do to ensure your recruitment website remains visible?

More than 50% of all top UK recruiters have failed to implement the markup necessary for Google Jobs to run on their website, according to brand development agency I-COM. As Google Jobs will not be able to pull job listings from sites without the required schema, this reduction in online visibility is bound to reduce incoming traffic to recruitment sites.

If you have not yet added the relevant markup to your site you can do so by:

  1. First, applying Job Posting-structured schema markup to your recruitment site as a whole
  2. Ensuring that every job post on your site has an added <lastmod> dated sitemap, RSS or Atom feed

Useful resources include:

  1. The Google Schema Markup Guide, which gives detailed step-by-step instructions to putting schema into effect
  2. The Google Structured Data Testing Tool which is designed to give recruiters the ability to preview their data to ensure that there are no mistakes

Why is Google My Business optimisation important?

Now that Google Jobs is live, Google Business (GMB) optimisation is key to ensuring your site continues to receive relevant traffic.

It is vital to ensure that you are ranking as highly as possible. Take the time to confirm that your Google Business profile is optimised to the best possible standard. Check that it has been set up correctly and that you have tested it using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.

One of the most reliable ways to guarantee a strong ranking position for your business is to have plenty of reviews, so try to secure as many as you can – ideally more than your competition.

Flagging inappropriate reviews to Google is the best step to take if there is any feedback that you consider to be inaccurate or misrepresentative of your company. Take care to abide by Google review policies as you cannot delete reviews that you simply disagree with.

With  organic search results dropping and costs per click predicted to rise, it is time to diversify SEO efforts in the recruitment industry.

The Map Pack still appears above Google Jobs listings after a search and the power of local search shows no signs of waning. Utilise local business schema markup so that Google can pull your website for location search terms – if you are successful, you will guarantee high visibility for that search.

Curo Talent predict that Google Jobs will affect recruiters that lack marketing and technical expertise most severely following its launch in the UK. This is due to the fact that they are less able to adapt to the changes Google Jobs will bring to the online recruitment market.

If you’re feeling apprehensive that the changes brought about by Google Jobs will negatively impact your company’s online visibility, contact us. Our creative and technical SEO specialists can advise you on the best approach to ensuring you utilise the new landscape of online recruitment to your advantage.

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